MANATEE - Manatee has seen its fair share of growth over the years, but January 9th marks a significant date in its history. Cathy Slusser is Manatee County's chief historian and is able to comb through documents everyday.

“We have all our governmental records going back to 1855, deeds, marriages, all kinds of very interesting documents. The county has always valued its history,"

Places like Manatee Historical Park help preserve significant pieces of Manatee County history and culture.

“The oldest thing that we have is the courthouse behind me.  The church which is just across the way represents the religious   aspect of the settlers lives which was very important to them. The rest of the structures here at Manatee Village represent Manatee County’s pioneer past," historian Phaedra Carter said.

Settlers depended on the Manatee River and used the area’s famous marine mammal as inspiration for county naming rights.

“Florida is no different from America’s expansion westward, it was a gritty frontier place," Carter said.

By keeping an emphasis on the rich history of Manatee, the pulse on the county’s future beats strong.